Kenyan court rejects plea in firearms case

May 13, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 13 – Narok businessman Ismail Munir and his wife have lost a bid to have a case in which they are accused of possessing a cache of arms taken to the High Court for interpretation.

Nairobi Chief Magistrate Gilbert Mutembei dismissed Mr Munir\’s application as vexatious and frivolous.

Mr Mutembei said the accused did to satisfy the court as to why the case should be referred to the High Court.

The magistrate observed that some of the issues that Mr Munir and Nahid Tabasum wanted addressed by the High Court were tackled when they were first arraigned in court.

“It is vexatious and frivolous for the defence to revisit the same issues that were addressed by this court when the accused were first arraigned in court. The court was and is still satisfied by the explanation that was given by the prosecution,\’\’ he ruled.

Mr Munir and Tabasum had urged the trial magistrate to refer the cases to the High Court claiming their fundamental rights have been violated.

Among the issues the duo complained of through lawyer Pravin Bowry, is the decision by police to conduct searches in Mr Munir’s premises in Embakasi and Narok where the weapons were recovered without a search warrant, discrimination of bail terms and pre-trial publicity.

They said they were unlikely to face a fair trial before Mr Mutembei because several judicial and prosecutorial improprieties had been committed against them.

The High Court they contended, has the jurisdiction to investigate all the allegations including being held for more than 24 hours before they were charged.

However senior state counsel Vincent Wohoro who is prosecuting the case urged Mr Mutembei to disregard the application saying it was incompetent.

He argued the move by the defence was meant to delay the fair and expeditious trial of the criminal case against the suspects.

The Attorney General’s representative said there is no basis upon which the case should be referred to the High Court for constitutional interpretation.

Mr Munir, his wife, Joseph Maritim and two others have denied keeping thousands of military weapons in Narok, Embakasi and Nanyuki last December.

The case will be mentioned on May 28.

Elsewhere in court, Patrick Eston Kibebe has been accused of being in possession of elephant tusks worth Sh8.1 million.

He was also accused of exporting the tusks without going through a port of entry and production of a certificate of ownership to a customs officer.

Mr Kibebe denied committing the offence on February 23 at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

He was ordered to pay a cash bail of Sh300,000 to secure his release.


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